The word “networking” terrifies a lot of people..jobseekers “know” they need to do it, but the prospect can be very overwhelming, especially if you think you don’t know anyone..if that’s you, here’s how to get started.
You might think my premise is silly, but I assure you, the number one excuse I hear from my reluctant networkers is “ I don’t know anyone, where would I start”? Of course you know people, you may just need help realizing it.
Building the network from the ground up
First, let’s start with a resource everyone has – current and former colleagues..sit down and list everyone you worked with or for…gather their emails, phone numbers or home addresses, any way that you have to reach them.. put them into your outlook or other contact management software, and ZAP – instant network. AND you have something in common.
Also very important – do as much as you can to connect with people you meet here on Biocareers.com…again, being a member here gives you something in common.
Next, let’s discuss optimizing a resource everyone has ( or should have), and that is a LinkedIn account .if you don’t have one get one, and find the money for the business membership..the site will work better for you as far as searches, and you will have more options to contact people.
Let’s say you don’t have any connections for whatever reason..you get those by joining groups.. Obviously, you should already be a member of the biocareers.com group and making connections there..You should also find groups related to your specialty, and really spend time looking at the smaller groups..it’s harder to get “lost” in the smaller groups… You can be a member of up to 50 groups and they are free, so don’t be shy about joining…if you later find that some aren’t serving a purpose, you can leave and join new ones as much as you want.
From here, the basic rules apply.. don’t be a wallflower..introduce yourself, participate in discussions, and ask questions… before long, you will be sending out connection requests and receiving them as well.. Hint: Asking “who is hiring” or telling the group you are seeking opportunities isn’t “giving value”. Aside from Linkedin, I also advise joining web forums, meetup groups, and Facebook pages devoted to your specialty.. it’s a digital world, but it is your responsibility to find the places to participate, and then participate. You guys are already good at research, just apply some perseverance to your web searches, and you”ll be amazed at the online communities you can find.
Let’s not leave aside the “real world” either.. join every trade group and professional association you can think of that is applicable to you..get the literature, join the mailing list, and above all, GO TO the meetings in your area.. and remember to smile and say hi, don’t just sit there.
I am fond of saying that much of what cripples us are self inflicted wounds…”isolation” is one such thing we do to ourselves, but there is a way out if you are willing to take it.
Heck, you might have hundreds of LinkedIn connections already, but unless you are interacting with them and giving value, it’s not really a network..it’s the ILLUSION of a network.
We can always talk specific strategies you can use in regards to “what you should say”, (and we will) but my hope today was to give you a few ideas to get off dead center and start to build that network from the ground up.
Until next time, I wish you all the best.
Thomas Patrick Chuna is a certified Five O’Clock Club job search coach.
The Five O’Clock Club is a nationally recognized outplacement firm with a proven job search methodology that helps job seekers get better jobs faster.
The Five O’Clock Club also provides affordable, humane outplacement services to companies who care about the well being of their employees.
Tom is also an experienced independent recruiter specializing in molecular oncology research scientists & MD’s.
Learn more: http://www.fiveoclockclub.com http://www.patrick-international.net